My dear fiance Matt has taken to protecting me like a mother bear protects its baby bear.

When he sees strain in my face, he is on task fixing my discomfort. I don’t have to ask, he is there. He’s heard me moan, cuss, sob, and suffer in stoic silence. He has seen me crumble and break down during movies with parent and child interactions, causing me sorrow over my infertility due to internal damage from the cancer radiation treatments. I have finally found a man who would take on the journey with me, and was looking forward to it, until we learned that through saving myself from cancer, I would lose my fertility. The experience of raising my own kids is something I will miss out on, and long to have.


Eggs before colorectal radiation


Eggs after colorectal radiation

So when my parent friends tell their proud stories and observations of their kids to me, one might think I would feel sad and mournful over my unfulfillable desire to have children. On the contrary, I do not. I’m not sure exactly why, except I live vicariously. My imagination allows me to feel what my friends are feeling for their children without bringing in my own sorrows. I am quietly studying their relationship with their kids as a psychologist would, and learning more about both the depths of my friend and their child as whole individuals.

Matt understandably wants to see that my friends are aware of my silent struggle and be sensitive about how they share their stories around me. I am proud to have a man who is so in tune with not only my feelings, but with other peoples’;  a very, very rare quality in a mate, and I happen to have one of those rare mates.

Upon recently observing a long conversation with a dear childhood friend about her kids, Matt felt strongly that with me, this friend should frame her discussion to include what qualities my life has without children, to protect me from my own mixed feelings. So he confronted her while I wasn’t listening.

Now, a guy would do this for me??? Never before have I experienced this act of compassion from a mate, except maybe my own dad.

The next conversation with this friend, she had done some thinking and she described beautifully how her life and my life have criss-crossed over the years. At times she has looked at my life and questioned her own circumstances, and was certain that I had looked at her life and questioned mine. She sees my life without children as an opportunity to experience things that parents with children want to, but have difficulty doing because of the constraints of parenthood.

The next day Matt confided that he had approached my friend, and then it became clear what inspired her discussion with me. Well, it turns out both my friend and Matt were showing integrity, both taking care of me.

Now, I have a number of girlfriends who at my age, 39, have not had children either by decision or by circumstance, so I am in good company, and definitely do not feel, “poor me, I am the only one…” Matt and I will continue to build our foundations and experience travel and adventures as we love to do together. And we will be role models and influence the kids around us who need us.

When Matt and I get married, I will have a stepdaughter, Chloe, who has accepted me as ‘Mom2′. Now, there’s somethin’!



Celebrating a Milestone

Friday was the last day of radiation and of chemo treatments!!! I’m so thrilled I no longer have to plan day trips into the city to be at the radiation lab, and have fewer pills in the daily pill orchestration, which this last six weeks had become a lifestyle of necessity. Matt & I were able to have some fun on our trips, but are both glad to be back in control of our daily schedule. And now I get to heal!

I decided yesterday at my exit appointment with my radiation oncologist that I DO have a yeast infection, and therefore will need to begin antibiotics. So, after our appointment, I was sent upstairs to the diagnostic lab to submit a urine sample to verify the infection.

I had thought that I would be free, like a student who finished exams, and could now enjoy summer vacation. Instead, after my exams, I’ve been told I have some credits to make up. At least the infection waited until the end of the treatments, otherwise I would have been given time off to heal, then come back and finish treatments, and I just wanted it to be done!

So my bum is sunburned, anus swollen, poos are like formed kitty litter (what is that all about??), and crotch is brutally sore and itchy. Now I am starting to feel relief, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It will be 1 ½-2 weeks before normalcy.

The next week is all about the three R’s: Reading, wRiting and Relaxation. Until my parents arrive!


3/27/12 Tues. PM

I just came across my ex-boyfriend’s Facebook page. Yeah I know, don’t go there, right? Well, I figured it’s been enough time, I can just peak.

This is the one I broke off 6 years ago because he wasn’t ready to marry and wasn’t interested in having kids when I was. Looks like he’s married and has kids, PLUS he appears happy. Kind of a blow to see, because although I am in a healthy, devoted relationship with a man who wants kids with me, I have lost the ability to have children because the radiation treatments will scramble my eggs and induce early menopause.

Sigh. Life, huh? Am I jealous? Maybe. Yes. At the time I was frustrated that I had gotten so far into a relationship, then had to leave it because of the difference in our needs. I don’t feel bad about missing that opportunity because we just weren’t ready. No fault. Before cancer Matt & I were not quite ready to bring a child into the world, and I believe it was the best choice until we were ready. Now we are ready, but the ship has sailed. The heartbreaking thing is twofold:

1) I don’t get the experience of raising my own kids. I feel I would be good at the job, and most importantly, raise good kids.
2) I don’t get to talk to parents as a parent. I can relate superficially, then I am just not in the club.

This is hard sometimes. I feel envious that Matt raised a daughter. He relates to other parents, and has an appreciation for kids that I can only share superficially because I’ve never been invested that way. Matt’s devotion to me goes above and beyond any desire for children. He just wants life to be spent with me. Nice boy, huh?

I cannot make babies, so now new possibilities will be open to us.


I love food and love to eat!

Matt & I worship the God of Good Eats at every meal, especially dinner when it is a creative, social time for us. It is also ultimately nutritious and nourishing. Several years now of refining our menu together has made us masters of every meal.

We work together very well, moving in concert around each other and the sink, refrigerator and stove. We look forward to dinner every morning when we wake up. When we shop for the week, we look forward to eventually eating whatever we bring home from the grocery store. We are serious foodies.

We call our home the “END OF THE ROAD CAFE” because we live at the end of a long road, and we love to eat and to feed people.

I know that at some point my love of food will be overtaken by horrible nausea from the radiation and chemo regimen, and who knows what else, so for now, I store up like a bear before hibernation.

Ugh is the word used to describe the energy sap. That, and I rather like the “Boneless Chicken” ref. Sleep was broken for the last two nights with bouts of diarrhea/gas, with episodes every 2 hours. Fatigued. Other than that, healthy appetite, good mood. Damn, I look skinny!

On this treatment regimen, I will need to up my calories, avoid roughage to avoid diarrhea, get more vitamin B6, Calcium, probiotics, electrolytes, potassuim and sodium, increase soluble fiber. And get this: MORE FATS AND OILS!! Joking?

It just seems so wrong that my life has been dedicated to nutritional eating, and now I am voluntarily putting poison in my mouth. I know, I know, it beats dying an early death, but seriously, there is a biohazard symbol on my bag of chemo pills!

Ok, salty, oily potatoes with mayo it is! Bring it!!


I NEVER thought I’d be happy about gaining 4 lb!

Went for radiation, then met with my oncology dr, all’s well, but feel like I did a hard workout and I could eat an entire roast without help. At least my apetite is good.



3/10/12 Sat PM

How’s Matt Feeling?

Thank goodness for George Carlin. When things are low, it’s George Carlin therapy.

Because Matt is my support, wonderfully loving and extraordinarily protective, he takes on lots of stress due to my new illness. He puts in a lot of energy driving me to appointments, being my friend, cooking for me, keeping neighbors updated, and thus sacrificing his projects and obligations, etc.

I try to remind him to be easy on himself because we’ve had a big change with my diagnosis added to the stresses that existed already. With so much on his plate, I completely understand being easily frustrated and tense. he always seems to rebound back to my darling man. He was open when I told him of a counselor available at St Johns for free. That way, at least I can learn what I can do to support my mate, after all, we are a team in this game together.

2 days of chemo, and 3 days of radiation. I get weekends off of radiation. I feel like I should feel ‘poisoned‘ today because of the chemo pill regimen, but I don’t. Not sure what accounts for that, but I’m grateful!

My mom forwards me positive messages from friends in Portland. It’s very nice to be in touch, even indirectly. They appreciate my updates and humor. I think it goes a long way to making people comfortable about such a journey, which is very mysterious, in most cases. I have to say, my influences are Lance Armstrong, Olivia Newton-John, and others who are open and reach out to help people understand their condition, feelings around a bad diagnosis.


Hello World!

First full day of treatment down (chemo/radiation) yesterday, and doing alright. I’m getting to know the parade of patients that comes through the radiation ward every day like me.

Feeling a bit off, fatigued, queezy, but as long as it’s working, it’s worth all that. Cheers to my darling Matt for being my rock and my love. My deep gratitude for all the wishes and prayers I have received.

This describes how I feel these days. Like a boneless chicken on the Boneless Chicken Ranch.


So, I can’t drown my sorrows in beer anymore (not allowed to drink on this cancer-treatment diet).

Last night I was offered a pomegranate juice on the rocks (instead of margaritas). And I pictured myself today, like Bugs Bunny suffering the effects of mixing radish juice with carrot juice the night before, in the cartoon, “Hare Way to the Stars”.

What’s up Doc!


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